The civil rights campaigner who was accused of hiding her Caucasian heritage has finally admitted she was born white.
Rachel Dolezal, the former head of a chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and professor of Africana studies from Washington, generated headlines around the world earlier this year when her white parents told media that their daughter had been misrepresenting herself as black for the majority of her adult life.
In several subsequent interviews, Dolezal refused to say whether she was actually of African American heritage. "That question is not as easy as it seems," she said back in June.
There’s a lot of complexities… and I don’t know that everyone would understand that.
Dolezal has stayed out of the spotlight for the last few months but on Monday appeared on Fox daytime show The Real to talk to the five hosts - all women of colour.
After pointing out that police and traffic wardens in Washington treat her as black and that she never lied by ticking an inaccurate ethnicity box on her job application forms, Dolezal maintained she "walked the walk" of a black woman.
Towards the end of the segment, host Jeannie Mai confronted her by saying, “You weren’t born black, so when you say you are black, it makes it hard for people to understand where you’re coming from.”
Right, and that’s why I said, I acknowledge that I was biologically born white to white parents...
The audience gave her a standing ovation in recognition of the breakthrough that Dolezal had recognised her heritage, before she got to finish her statement:
...but I identify as black.